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Old 03-22-2015, 11:27 AM
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Default Konami's Slow Death

So we all see it, with Kojima leaving there is no large known talent at a Director level at Konami, and let's just say the behemoth has lost the ability to notice/cultivate the gifts of its people.

So I'm going through a mourning period as one of my all time favorite game companies crumbles into obscurity (in the dedicated video game sphere). Join me won't you?

Let's share our favorite happy memories from Konami's 30+ years in video games!

I'll start with E3 2000. I'd gone each day, some with the motley crew of hopefuls that was my development group: Team XKalibur. We met with several publishers (including Konami) but hope was slipping away for the year. Everyone was impressed that a handful of nobodies had a colorful RPG running on the GBC, but none wanted to publish it.

In my last hour there, I returned to Konami's booth to watch their trailer reel on the enormous screen. The now-familiar games scrolled by: ZoE, Shadow of Destiny, and the glorious MGS2, each with an amazing showcase trailer. I didn't know how, but I knew I had to be a part of that.

A company where Hideo Kojima could start out making silly penguin games and one day create a trailer that shook the industry... What an amazing place for artists. I left that E3 with a fiery hope inside, that I did belong in games, and whatever it took, I'd work with Konami some day.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Guycot View Post
and let's just say the behemoth has lost the ability to notice/cultivate the gifts of its people.
...
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:40 AM
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:46 AM
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I remember a year or so ago a Konami rep said that the company no longer had the talent in-house to make another Suikoden game. I knew then it was simply a matter of time.

Speaking of Suikoden, man what a series.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:50 AM
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Another one - the atmosphere of NES Castlevanias.

Those opening "prologue" rooms did wonders
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:56 AM
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Goemon's basically been dead for some time now, which is a shame. I really, really miss the Konami that had enough of a sense of humor to make games like Ganbare Goemon and the Parodius shooters. Ya'll can lament Castlevania and Metal Gear and Suikoden or whatever, but losing the goofball Goemon games is the real tragedy.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:57 AM
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If I made a list of my favorite PS1 games, I think there would be 3 Konami games in the top 5. When I think of how much great stuff there was on that system, that seems kinda nuts.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:01 PM
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I realized, shortly after posting the above, that Konami is still one of the "giants" in my mind solely because of the S/NES and DS generations: while I played the first two MGSs and a little bit of 3, I skipped most of Konami's Playstation and PS2 offerings. I've yet to play a Silent Hill, ZoE 2 and Suikoden III are still in my Pile, I've only gotten about a fifth into Lords of Shadow, never touched a modern Contra...

But still, even if Axelay 2 has remained an unfulfilled promise for 22 years, damn, being in business for a quarter of a century is not too bad, either.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:04 PM
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But still, even if Axelay 2 has remained an unfulfilled promise for 22 years, damn, being in business for a quarter of a century is not too bad, either.
My first few years at Konami, the CEO of the West was the Producer of Axelay.

I threatened several times to pitch a sequel. The pitch would be a single page--that image you posted above, with the added text: "Well?"
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:07 PM
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I have a PLAN!

We go to Konami HQ. We divide into two teams! Team 1 takes one elevator to the top, Team 2 takes another elevator halfway up. We then both work our way down floor by floor and find anyone named Abe and Baku. We then alternate asking them about plans to improve the company, twice. We select the best choice and tell them to start!

This cannot fail!
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:09 PM
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Boy Tomm, you left Konami at exactly the right time.

Anyway. Nobody did cartoon licensed games like Konami. Their TMNT releases from the 1990s were incredible... TMNT: Tournament Fighters for the Super NES remains one of my favorite versus fighters, over twenty years later.

Konami really knew its video game music, too. Their composers knew how to make hardware sing, whether it was the NES, Super NES, or an arcade sound chip. So frantic and full of energy! Here's an example of their work. Note that this was on the friggin' original brick Game Boy.

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Old 03-22-2015, 12:09 PM
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Happy to help you guys pour one out for the Konami of old.

This has been one of my all-time favorite companies for SO MANY reasons.





The list goes on.

I've never gotten to play Vandal Hearts... ;_;

Last edited by That Old Chestnut; 03-22-2015 at 12:17 PM. Reason: the Moai ship video didn't want to work on here
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:29 PM
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Such a sad time. And they took Hudson down with them too.

In my mind there were three giants in gaming: Nintendo, Capcom and Konami. Almost everything they produced would be worth buying. Well, I'll add SEGA as another giant. Two are gone, Capcom aren't the force they once were.

Castlevania, Silent Hill, Metal Gear, PES, Contra, Goemon and all the great licensed games. What a history.

Edit: really ought to try Suikoden at some point.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:37 PM
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They took all the lessons they learned rocking licensed games and doubled down on their original stuff.

Contra 3 and Rocket Knight - are you kidding me???

Even their games that ultimately aren't as good were at least interesting and ambitious (Hard Corps, Sparkster Genesis)
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:48 PM
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Konami was incredible. I'll always remember them as one of the best game companies that ever was.

There are countless things I'll miss about them, but I'll especially miss how fearless their level design could be. They did bizarre, creative things that I've never seen anyone attempt before or since.









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Old 03-22-2015, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoon View Post
In my mind there were three giants in gaming: Nintendo, Capcom and Konami
Yes. Konami's name on NES or SNES box meant it would be a good game. That quality also extended into the arcade with TMNT, Simpsons and X-men.

Being a devout Nintendo fan I missed out on the PS1 and PS2 era of Konami. But I always kept my eye on Castlevania games, a personal favorite series of mine. I picked up a PS1 when it was redesigned and played SOTN and Chronicles.

After the PS1 and PS2 era, I picked up a PS3 and I've re-aqauianted myself with Konami. I've played through 4 Metal Gear games (MGS4 and MGS HD Collection), and have just started getting into Silent Hill. So far I love Silent Hill.

Konami's legacy of games is amazing. Its a disappointing that Konami seems to be moving away from console games.

What started their demise in game making?

Did management simply look at P/L statements of video games vs health clubs and pachinko machines and decide to move in the latter direction. Or did they place some big financial bets on expensive games that did not pay off, and cooled their enthusiasm for the video game market?

***
As a total aside. I was reading through the thread on US Gamer about Kojima's departure and someone mentioned that Final Fantasy XV was the last Final Fantasy title as we know it, before Square shifts focus to mobile. Is that true? Seemed pretty far-fetched to me. However, if it is true, I guess Konami would be in the same boat. The console market and console games that Talking Timers want games for no longer exists to the point where its financially feasible. Then again why hire for new Metal Gear games if the console market is struggling?
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:08 PM
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In addition to Contra and Castlevania, I also really enjoyed Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose, and the various TMNT games they did over the years. Like Capcom, seeing "Konami" on the box of a licensed game was usually a good sign.

Other personal favorites for me: Sunset Riders, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Survival Kids, Suikoden

Konami also had a huge presence in the arcades when I was growing up, although by the time I was in high school they were primarily only making Dance Dance Revolution and other music and rhythm games. I think they're still a major producer of those.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:15 PM
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Zombies Ate My Neighbors
Zombies Ate My Neighbors reminds me of Wonderboy in Monster World. Not tone wise, but that its a few design decisions away from being a great game. That game is just way too hard at the last levels. My friend and I, who are seasoned gamers, made it up to level 47 or 48 and the game just gets brutally difficult. Wonderboy is the same way for me its fun until I hit a wall in later levels.

The tone and the 50s vibe of the horror movies in Zombies Ate My Neighbors is fantastic. I remember Zombies was on the Wii VC release list, and I would check every Monday (or was it Wednesday?) waiting for it to be released. I figured it would never happen after months of not showing up. I figured there was some legal rights issue between Lucas Arts and Konami. When it it finally did show up I was pleasantly surprised.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:16 PM
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I've had plenty of good times with Konami games. Mainly Castlevania and Metal Gear, but I've enjoyed various other games they've made as well.

It's a shame Konami never made a good successor to Survival Kids, 'cuz I really liked that game. I tried to like Lost in Blue, but that series got too stuck up its ass in dating sim elements and tedious minigames and it went from being too easy to keep your food and water up to too hard.

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In my mind there were three giants in gaming: Nintendo, Capcom and Konami. Almost everything they produced would be worth buying. Well, I'll add SEGA as another giant. Two are gone, Capcom aren't the force they once were.
SEGA's not gone (3rd party-wise), it's just a shell of its former self like Capcom, but moreso.

Sonic the Hedgehog's their license to print money due to a combination of nostalgia, furry fandom, and kids for whom it's one of the few mascot platformers still around, quality be damned. Aside from that, their main new games output is shooter publishing and Japan only Puyo Puyo games and Shining spinoffs.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:29 PM
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Yeah, SEGA's not technically gone but I'm unlikely to see experimentation like (or sequels to) the classics beyond Sonic. And those games are far from a safe bet. They really did very little wrong between the Mega Drive to Dreamcast.

The problem seems to be opportunity cost; for the price of a AAA game you could make lots of experimental games like we used to get up to the PS2 generation. But the payday from a AAA game would be vastly higher than those multiple games. But if the AAA game doesn't sell it can sink the company so nobody will come up with adventurous new genres or ideas.

I'm fairly convinced this is the last generation we'll have like this. Games can't keep getting more expensive. And big games take too long to develop; consider what games we'd had by this time last generation and compare it to what we've had this generation.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:33 PM
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*snif*
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:35 PM
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SEGA's not gone (3rd party-wise), it's just a shell of its former self like Capcom, but moreso.
Lest we forget
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:41 PM
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Konami was one of those names that, back in the 8 and 16-bit eras, you generally could expect quality from. Yeah, bad games still would come out, but generally they would be ambitious or interesting.

Although on the SNES they were quite the force. Super Castlevania, Turtles in Time, Axelay, Cybernator, Adventures of Batman and Robin, Contra 3 are all pretty much must-owns IMO.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:46 PM
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I remember when I was young my family went on a trip to a Six Flags theme park, but my fondest memory of the entire time was getting to play this at our hotel room:




Also, God bless everyone posting Goemon clips here. Truly Konami's secret best series.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
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Konami was one of those names that, back in the 8 and 16-bit eras, you generally could expect quality from. Yeah, bad games still would come out, but generally they would be ambitious or interesting.
It would be far quicker to list the duffers than the great games. I'd go so far as to say that continued to the beginning of the PS3 era. It was a hell of an unbroken streak, considering they must have had staff turnover in that time, like people lost to Treasure, and the huge changes in technology during that period.

While everything must eventually die, it doesn't make it any easier to swallow.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:55 PM
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shout out to all y'all Goemon Likers

you know what's up
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:04 PM
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I remember Konami most from the SNES, where every game they made was fucking awesome. I especially liked that whenever they did a licensed game, they did a soundtrack that included the Theme Song along with other recognizable tunes. The Batman The Animated Series and Tiny Toon Adventures games are stand-out examples.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:05 PM
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The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was definitely one of my favorite SNES Konami games. It's a shame nobody's ever localized the sequels, officially or by fan translation.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoon View Post
The problem seems to be opportunity cost; for the price of a AAA game you could make lots of experimental games like we used to get up to the PS2 generation. But the payday from a AAA game would be vastly higher than those multiple games. But if the AAA game doesn't sell it can sink the company so nobody will come up with adventurous new genres or ideas.

I'm fairly convinced this is the last generation we'll have like this. Games can't keep getting more expensive. And big games take too long to develop; consider what games we'd had by this time last generation and compare it to what we've had this generation.
You just need to look at the announcements and releases from the major publishing houses to see this in action. A new game, even if it's just a sequel to an established franchise, seems like the exception. The norm is ports or HD remasters, because they're "AAA" (and thus bring in those larger paydays), while being cheap since most of the resources are already there.

These mini-AAA releases are then being funneled directly into the normal AAA projects, keeping them alive because the budgets are insane compared to the expected revenues from the target audiences.
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Old 03-22-2015, 02:16 PM
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I remember looking at the way AAA was going in 2008-2009 and starting to worry about what the skyrocketing development costs would do to gaming. I think the potential for industry-wide damage was apparent to everyone back then, but I didn't think we'd be discussing the death of Konami half a decade later.

It's shitty, and it still feels like it doesn't have to be this way.
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